Andrew (or Pie Man/Mr.Pie as some have chosen to call him) and I moved to Portland, OR from our cozy little corner of Chicago, IL a little over 2 months ago.
As with anything new, we’ve taken a little while to settle, and even after two months, we’re still adjusting to life in a new city and on a new coast (referring here to the coast of the Willamette River, pronounced by locals “WILL-AM-ET,” not “WILL-AH-MET” as I keep calling it).
I’ve enjoyed a lot of the “new.” Exploring coffee shops makes me feel a little like a bird searching for a cozy winter nest. There are parks and trees everywhere, and it’s not hard to go on a hike. From our apartment, we can walk 30 minutes and be deep in the trails of Forest, Washington or Marquam Park. And they’re real trails - with wild mushrooms and berries and slugs and rocks and everything! And our apartment is so cool; it’s a big studio with huge windows that let in so much wonderful light, and we have a friendly tree right outside and an actual dining room table, plus a separate space to do our creative work. Also, the people have all been really nice, except for maybe our property manager and that one impatient lady at the Pearl Bakery.
We are not so thrilled with our apartment building because of the property manager and, well, most everything else besides our actual living space. Garbage trucks come anywhere between 4:30 and 6:30 AM six days a week, and they’re so loud that it sounds like a hungry monster is chomping glass right on our bedspread. Our sink fell through our kitchen counter, which was terrifying, and we live on a fine line between the luxury of (snooty voice) “the Pearl” and the astonishing problem of Portland’s homelessness.
As you can probably tell, I’m pretty nostalgic for Chicago. I miss taking walks with Andrew to the bird sanctuary and sitting together to watch the water, no matter if the weather was balmy or below freezing. I miss Dollop Coffee and knowing the baristas well enough that they cried when we told them we were engaged. I miss being able to take a train ride to see my dad, my aunts and uncles or my grandparents.
I guess what I’m really nostalgic for is the cozy feeling of familiarity. Where we lived in Chicago was actually quite similar to where we live now - on the weird borderline between two very different neighborhoods - but for the simple reason that it’s not where I am right now, I can’t help painting Buena Park with a rose colored brush and thinking fondly about walking down the street without having to sidestep someone sleeping in a doorway.
But I’m also actively trying not to rush this feeling of discomfort, not because “change happens on the other side of your comfort zone,” but because I know that comfort also brings with it a feeling of monotony and a wish for something new and different. So, I’m trying to embrace the fact that I’m not feeling so comfy right now and using that discomfort to force myself to try to do a lot of new things - like make new friends, explore some different neighborhoods, and maybe find something that feels like home in the process.